Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Lies, Damn Lies and RBC Press Releases.

It's not just the local Labour party who cannot get used to the fact that they don't run the council anymore. The whole culture of the one party state is embedded right throughout the council. All requests to see internal documents under Freedom of Information have been denied to us on the direct orders of the Labour party and that stance has been backed up by officers hiding behind the discredited member/officer protocol.

What have they to hide? No point asking, as it will either be shredded or deleted from the inboxes. Open government my arse!

The latest bit of Labour propaganda from the council that would have made Goebbels blush is the press release supposedly in the name of the Lead Councillor for the Environment.

Do you think for one minute that Paul Gittings, Lead Councillor for Environment and Sustainability, really said: "Reading continues to offer generous concessions to residents who require bulky waste collection services and this latest initiative gives further help to those most in need." Bollocks he did!

This is a man who fought tooth and nail to stop this scheme when we introduced it on the October council meeting and proposed an amendment rejecting it and patting himself on the back for doing such a lousy job.

Now I could call him a hypocrite for trying to claim credit for a scheme that he and his fellow Labour councillors so roundly condemned in October, but being a hypocrite will not come as news to seasoned Reading Labour watchers. Instead I'll concentrate on the fatuous and banal press releases put out by the Labour party under the guise of council press releases.

This is how it's done. A press release is written by the RBC PR department, it is passed to the lead councillor to approve and no words have passed anyone's lips. It then gets sent to the Evening Post who then print it verbatim because it's easier and cheaper than researching and printing the real story. Who needs the party to put out press releases when the council will do it for you?

I expect you'll find another council press release out tomorrow quoting Jo Lovelock claiming credit for freezing councillor allowances with her making nauseatingly patronising comments about how tough it is for families (Yes Jo, it is tough and it is YOUR government that is responsible for it, take some bloody responsibility for once).

Just to check I wasn't being unfair, I looked long and hard through the Labour budget and do you know what, there was not a single mention of freezing allowances. In fact if you look through the agenda for tonight's council meeting you can see the original report was to increase special responsibilty allowances, or as everyone else knows them, jobs for the boys if you toe the line.

We are not going to get any major changes to the way Reading is run as long as the existing member/officer protocol which enshrines the right of the ruling party to keep things hidden and non-disclosable stays in place.

The shame on the Tories is that they fully back it, hoping one day that the benefits it currently gives to Labour will one day be theirs.

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